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Friday, Mar. 6, 2015

Council receives building projections

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council was presented with space layout and cost projections from Prochaska & Associates of Omaha for the proposed Municipal Facility at Monday's semi-monthly City Council meeting at Memorial Auditorium.

The cost projections for construction of the facility to house Police and Fire Departments as well as City Staff were listed as $5,837,350, with a reduced option which the council preferred to pursue at $5,218,200.

Via a conference call, Prochaska & Associates representatives told the City Council that the lower cost option would most likely reduce the amount of brick used on the exterior as well as require the use of more of a metal structure.

Architect Jim Classe of Prochaska said "the $5.2 million cost estimate is using a half-metal, half-standard pricing, but a lot is still needed to be worked through before the numbers are exact."

The sales-tax-funded structure will provide significant facility upgrades to all departments based out of it, as well as the ability to share a single public entrance. City Council chambers would be handicap accessible, and the police department would get a significant upgrade to its interview facilities as well as covered parking for eight police squad cars.

The proposed facility makes use of the sloping nature of the lot it will be built on, reducing the amount of excavation needed and housing the Fire Department on a second level over the emergency and fire vehicles bay.

Council members seemed pleased with the proposal, drawing praise from Lonnie Anderson and Aaron Kircher. Voters will decide the fate of the project in November.

The meeting also featured a public hearing proposing changes to the zoning ordinance. The changes were subsequently approved, inserting 46 items to the ordinance and deleting seven.

"The zoning ordinance lacked definition in a lot of areas and we have not been in a position to bring a counseling firm on board. These [insertions] are just definitions we're talking about," said City Manager Kurt Fritsch during the hearing.

Fritsch also recommended the council begin conversation regarding two other zoning ordinance topics, adult establishments and detention facilities.

The definition of "adult establishments" was among the new insertions. Fritsch said building a document strong enough to uphold challenges would be beneficial, as would advanced conversation regarding "where we will allow them [adult establishments]. We must allow them somewhere, the courts have proven that."

Detention facilities are currently only allowed in agricultural zones and Fritsch said it would be prudent to begin conversations around expanding that in an effort to assist the county with its potential jail.

The Police Department, in conjunction with the McCook Board of Health and the City Council continued their city-wide cleanup of nuisance properties. Three additional properties were declared unsafe nuisance properties and condemned: 606 W. Third; 710 W. Fourth; and 1403 West 14th.

Subsequently demolition bids were awarded for seven locations in all, 710 W. Fourth; No. 23 South Street; 606 W. Third; 208 West 10th; 202 S. Seventh; 105 S. Seventh; and 1306 West 12th. A property 1403 West 14th was originally intended to be included with the demolition projects but, but because the owner failed to return the required paperwork in time to include it as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds, any subsequent demolition expense would be at the owner's expense or require the owner to surrender ownership of the property to the city.

Fritsch, Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff, Public Works Supervisor Dob Neuhaus, Councilmen Aaron Kircher and Lonnie Anderson were appointed to the Selection Board for Engineering Consulting Services for the "H" street project from Norris Avenue to Airport Road. Kircher and Anderson were added to the board appointees list after Kircher proposed the change and city staff confirmed the move was not in conflict with Federal Highway Administration procedures. The deadline of Aug. 4, 2010, 2 p.m., was set to receive proposals from engineering consulting services regarding the project.

Other items approved on the Consent and Regular Agenda:

* the City Council accepted a rate change for under 60 congregate and home delivered meals, effective July 1, 2010 at the Heritage Senior Center. The new rate does not cover the $6.50 cost of the meal, but reduces the loss to the city from approximately $430 monthly, to $207.48.

* A proposal from the McCook Economic Development Corp. to provide a tax credit for services to W. Design for work at the Keystone Hotel was approved. The city served as a sponsor for the application with no cost or liability for its participation.

* A recommendation to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission for TJ's Family Fun Center for a one-story building, 140 feet by 40 feet, was approved.

* City council received and filed the Financial Report for the quarter ending June 30, 2010.

* Council approved $7,000 to be withdrawn from the Council Contingency Fund to pay for the city's portion of a 50/50 agreement with the county to develop a Hazard Mitigation Plan that complies with the Federal Emergency Management Administration.


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Economy may be rising, Nebraska has one of the lowest unemployment rate, etc. But, after it was announced this week that the State of Nebraska MAY have to go into special session to figure out how to cut $70M from the budget to cover the shortfall, do you think NOW isn't the time for the City to be giving such high pay increases? The State said that if they can't figure out how to cut $70M for next year's budget it will increase to $100M+ in just 1-2 years and that EVERYTHING will be affected including paycuts to City's, County's, Schools, etc. Don't you think the City of McCook and the School Board should be planning for that now and preparing for less money from the State in the future instead of spending spending spending everything now? Give the employees a COL increase and save the rest. We may need it. The City may not think it's much but every bit helps.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 8:14 AM

Careful there Rural you will be branded by a couple of posters that want to give away the taxpayers money with all 3 raises. Now is not the time to give away the reserves etc., be conservative right now, bigger raises later if and when the economy recovers.

State aid is going to dry up in all areas and the local taxpayer will be called on to make up the difference.

We've been very lucky with revenues so far, doesn't mean that it will continue.

With evaluations going way way up, why not lower the mill levy for a change?

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 8:57 AM

Sounds good, too. I just think we should ALL still be a little conservative until things straighten out. It just doesn't happen overnight.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 10:05 AM

With the raises the city will still maintain the same cash reserve it has had the past few years. Nationally the feds have the nation with the largest deficit in history. The State is struggling but also has a large tax reserve. Unemployment is running near 10% nationally and the state has one of the lowest rates at about 4%. Red Willow county has an even lower rate at about 3.8%. The McCook paper listed nearly 20 job openings in our area yesterday. Oberlin paper had another 20. Anyone wanting to work can find a job, it might not be the job they want or the pay they want but they can work. The CPI-consumer price index for our area for the past year was 4.49%. Local city workers should not be punished because the feds spent their money on forgien aid, buying car companies and banks, health care, "stimulus funds", and sueing a state for trying to enforce the federal immigration laws. Just another point-local sales tax receipts are up nearly 6%. The sky in McCook is not falling. The city is in the best financial shape in years due to managemenet of the budget by the city wortkers, city staff, department heads, city clerk and manager and the council: trust them,they have proved themselves. Please look at the brightside instead of the dark side.

-- Posted by dennis on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 10:10 AM

Bright side? Absolutely! I'm proud of what the City has accomplished. However, that doesn't mean I'm not going to think that maybe something may happen to the City income thanks to the State cutting back. Why can't we reward the City employees a little this year, a little next, etc. Instead of all at once and then IF something would happen then we'd have to say "sorry, not this year". It's being called cautiously optimistic and planning for the future.

-- Posted by Rural Citizen on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 2:45 PM

And...next year it will be the same story....and next year it will be the same story. If McCook continues to wait all they will do is lag behind. dennis said it right, look at the bright side not the dark side. I'm sure you could find a reason every year to not give a raise or not spend money for new buildings. After all, you are talking about spending alot of money. The bright side is that the cost of construction is low right now. Wait a few years and see what a new public safety center will cost you.

-- Posted by McCook Supporter on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 6:19 PM

The city found ways to cut the budgets of their individual departments to give the workers a raise. This is good. Now, lets' keep those cuts in place. If we don't need extra items, then don't get them. I feel the city did well on this.

The city has also been doing well on the nuisance of the old, run-down properties. They have been torn down and cleaned up. One problem. What about the property on South 83 Hwy. and South Street?? The old motel that has been there for years and still is an eyesore. The owner has been working with the city, but why is it taking so long?? This place has been there longer than the "yellow house" on east 2nd and C street. No one really pushes the issue at all. It is a terrible sight and especially for those who travel to McCook and come in from the south. It really doesn't do any good for the reputation of the city to have a "junk hole" right in plain sight. These houses that the city had torn down were not in plain sight of anyone who came and went from the city. This old motel is. Why is the city letting this go?? Why is there no legal claims to get the owners to tear it down and why is that?? Other properties would have the city attorney sending letters to them and soon the city would own it if they didn't do something to clean it up. Is there favoritizm going on here?? Or is it the owner's name that is keeping the city from doing anything?? They are no better than anyone in this city, so get out and do something about it. It is about time you did.....

-- Posted by edbru on Thu, Jul 22, 2010, at 7:18 AM

Mr. Dennis.

Fantastic that revenues are up.

City manager is doing a fine job.

Police and Fire departments doing a good job.

All other city workers doing a good job.

BUT.

State of Ne. tax revenues are 10% below projections, large cuts are in the works. State workers forced to take 2 unpaid days off, cuts in jobs, cuts in state aid coming.

Red Willow Co. 2% raises or $50. across the board.

Cant' afford anymore than that.

Some economists projecting a double dip recession.

Military gets a huge 1.7% raise.

Grand Island cutting jobs and budget.

Lincoln cutting the budget.

Omaha cutting the budget.

The feds tell all retired on social security and retired military, there was no inflation last year and this year, so you will receive ZERO % increases. But those on Medicare will have increases passed on to you.

I am not against the entire city staff getting a raise.

I am glad we have the dedicated employees we have, and hope they continue to stay in McCook.

I hope the new building passes, the old ones are a mess.

But with the economy the way it is, now is not the time to be giving a 3 tier raise. A 3% across the board raise is a decent raise for anybody.

The fact that McCook has escaped the biggest part of the recession, is nice, but not so long ago there were perhaps 5 or 6 jobs at the most listed in the paper. We were lucky this time, doesn't mean we will be if the nation gets hit with a double dipper. Time to be conservative!

I hope the vote is positive for the new building, but the people that have stayed in this city, for years and have decided to retire here, are being stretched to the limit with taxes, for once it would be nice for the council to say, " we lowered the mill levy by (fill in the blank) points this year, instead of we have held it the present level. Increase evaluations mean that, that mill levy is raising more taxes, and the taxpayers are paying more taxes, doesn't mean taxes are staying the same.

I was for the school bonds from the very start, but way too many retired, fixed income people voted them down, it might be good to remember those votes, with the generous raises you are propossing in this budget. You could have a hard sell with the fixed income folks. Before you remind me that it is proposed to pay for the building with sales tax dollars, great, but with many people taxes are taxes doesn't matter where it comes from.

-- Posted by goarmy67 on Fri, Jul 23, 2010, at 3:38 PM


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